Wealthsimple pokes fun at crypto skeptics

Who: Wealthsimple, with creative developed in-house, MJZ for production (directed by Mike Mills). The broadcast buy is handled by Jungle Media, while other media is handled in-house by Wealthsimple.

What: “Early Adopters,” a new campaign for the Canadian fintech’s cryptocurrency exchange.

When & Where: The Canada-only campaign launched with a 60-second ad during CTV’s broadcast of “The Slap” (aka The Oscars) on Sunday, with 30-, 15- and six-second cutdowns running on broadcast and digital, along with full-page print ads in The Globe and Mail and Toronto Star.

Why: To state the obvious, interest in cryptocurrency has exploded over the last couple of years, with tech and finance / investing worlds colliding and business media fascinated by the fast-rising valuations.

Wealthsimple launched its crypto trading platform in July 2020, at a time when many younger investors (a core demo for Wealthsimple) were getting into digital assets. Despite the excitement in the market, there are also plenty of skeptics who don’t believe the hype. (Warren Buffett described crypto as “rat poison” in 2018, though his Berkshire Hathaway invested $1 billion in a crypto-friendly bank earlier this year.)

“We wanted to address that [skepticism] head on by showcasing the challenges and benefits of early adoption,” Wealthsimple’s CMO Rudy Adler told The Message. “We’re hoping to reach Canadians who are curious—and maybe a bit hesitant—about crypto, and interested in learning more.”

How: The concept for the anchor ad is simple: Go back in time to the invention of the wheel and listen to how foolish (and funny) the naysayers and skeptics sounded then. “I don’t get caught up in the hype,” says one non-believer as he’s being piggybacked by a man. “People get caught up in the hype and it causes all kinds of problems.”

“So we all agree, change is bad,” says another, as the first wheels are used to fashion a crude cart. “Sometimes the future is right in front of you, if you are ready for it” says a voiceover to close the spot, accompanied by the Wealthsimple Crypto logo.

“This ad is really about flipping the meaning of dumb on its head,” said Adler. “It’s natural for people to be skeptical when a disruptive technology comes along, but we think it’s important to approach these breakthroughs with an open mind. Because often that skepticism will turn into optimism and conviction.”

“Dumb” is also the theme for the copy-heavy print ads (right), which open with the line “You’re going to start out dumb.” Just like the TV ad, the print does not mention crypto, but suggests that by trying “something crazy,” you could become “pretty smart.”

Is this for the brand or the category? Aside from the logo, there’s nothing about the ads to promote Wealthsimple Crypto. “This campaign is about more than cryptocurrency and Wealthsimple, it’s about innovation, invention and the risk and reward of early adoption,” said Adler. ”With every revolutionary idea, we’re going to see resistance, but that doesn’t mean we should be scared. We should be embracing change.”

Are you making fun of potential customers? “We wanted to meet people where they are in their crypto journey, whether it be early adopters or the people who practice reasonable caution when they might not fully understand something,” said Adler. “But ultimately, this is only one piece of content that we’ve created about crypto. We’re doing a lot more to help people understand crypto, address concerns, and highlight the potential benefits of cryptocurrencies and the technology that underpins it.”

David Brown